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30 gallery and museum lates in London

Many art galleries and London museums open late, with talks, performances, workshops, films, DJ sets, drinks and much more.
London National Gallery and Trafalgar Square and one of its fountains at dusk.
National Gallery at dusk. Image courtesy of Jon Reid.

Find out what's open when with this guide to late-night gallery and London museum lates. You don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy a cultural night out in London – many of these evening exhibitions and events are free. 

1. Bank of England Museum

Keep an eye out for ad hoc lates at the Bank of England Museum, which has hosted events focused on its exhibitions, with themes ranging from bank notes to Halloween.

2. British Library

Look out for late events at the British Library every few months, usually timed to coincide with major exhibitions and themes such as fashion and Bollywood. The venue is also open until 8pm Monday to Thursday.

3. British Museum

British Museum is one of the regular late-night museums in London which is open until 8.30pm every Friday. Attend lectures, debates, performances, film screenings and make use of late opening hours in the Great Court Restaurant.

4. Camden Arts Centre

Camden Arts Centre is open until 9pm every Wednesday, with free talks, film screenings and live performances. And don't forget to check out the cafe and bookshop.

5. Cartoon Museum

Thursdays and some Wednesdays
Stay behind for after-hours comic fun, as The Cartoon Museum hosts drawing and cartoon workshops. Attend regular events until closing at 8pm on Thursdays and look out for occasional activities on Wednesday evenings.

6. Christmas at Kew

Nov 2021 to Jan 2022
Take in the festive magic as Christmas at Kew opens its doors daily between 5pm and 10pm during the winter season. Revel in an evening full of light installations, jolly music, Christmas treats, drinks and more. 

7. City of London Police Museum

Learn about the history of policing in London, from tales of Jack the Ripper and wartime efforts, to present-day crime-fighting activities. The free-to-enter City of London Police Museum stays open until 7.30pm on Wednesdays.

8. Cutty Sark

Various dates
Venture under the hull of the world's last surviving tea clipper, Cutty Sark, for a series of fun after-hours events with Cutty Sark Lates. Choose from music, comedy, dance and workshops.

9. Design Museum

First Friday of every month
On the first Friday of the month, the Design Museum becomes one of the many late-night museums in London, as it opens until 8pm for Friday Lates. Take part in sketching workshops, talks and special events.

10. Emerge Festival

September 2021 TBC
Enjoy lates events at venues across London at the two-day Emerge Festival. Get involved in immersive experiences, sing your heart out at a silent disco, party to DJ sets and much more.

11. Handel & Hendrix in London

Handel & Hendrix in London hosts occasional late night openings to celebrate the music of these two musical geniuses separated by a wall and 200 years.

12. Hayward Gallery

Head to the South Bank for contemporary art exhibitions by international boundary-pushing artists, alongside talks and installations. Visit the Hayward Gallery on Thursdays for late opening until 9pm.

13. London Dungeon

Glad to be dead #Dead

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One Friday a month
Encounter a thrill-filled evening at London Dungeon's late openings, as you embark on a hair-raising immersive experience of theatre, Victorian-style cocktails and barrels of humour.

14. London Mithraeum

First Thursday of every month
Delve into Roman history at the historic London Mithraeum. Explore artefacts that were discovered in the 1950s at this fascinating museum, which stays open until 8pm on the first Thursday of every month.

15. London Transport Museum

Explore the London Transport Museum after hours at one of its Thursday or Friday lates. Take a sneak peak of the newest exhibitions and enjoy drinks, talks and events until 10pm.

16. Museum of London

Various dates
Late activities at the Museum of London have ranged from grisly Halloween card-making to Cleopatra-style makeovers.

18. National Maritime Museum

Various dates
Be treated to lectures and screenings in conjunction with the National Maritime Museum's latest exhibitions at special evening events.  

19. Natural History Museum

Last Friday of every month
Join Natural History Museum lates, which keep the famous museum open until 10pm on the last Friday of every month (except December). Browse the collections, see science demos and visit special exhibitions – and stay even later for silent discos.

20. Queen's House Greenwich

Don't miss ad hoc lates events at Queen's House in Greenwich, as the grand 17th-century house explores stories behind its art collection and hosts special evenings.

21. Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts is open until 10pm every Friday with live music, lectures, talks and tours, plus late opening hours in the restaurant and bar. There are also usually lates events to enjoy as part of new exhibitions.

22. Royal Observatory Greenwich

Watch one of Royal Observatory Greenwich's monthly film screenings, Silver Screen Science Fiction, to rediscover cult classics; or look out for other lates events, including Valentine's Day specials.

23. Saatchi Gallery

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Visit the Saatchi Gallery on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, when the gallery stays open until 10pm. Previously, you could discover 150 original artefacts from King Tut’s royal tomb by visiting Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh.

24. Science Museum

Last Wednesday of every month
On the last Wednesday of each month (except in December), adults take over the Science Museum for a night of science-themed fun. Don't miss the chance to play with more than 50 interactive exhibits, as part of Science Museum Lates, which run until 10pm.

25. Sir John Soane's Museum

One Friday a month
Explore the maze-like passages of Sir John Soane's Museum, atmospherically lit by candles, on a themed late opening every month.

26. Tate Britain

First Friday of every month
Featuring live music and workshops, Late at Tate Britain gives you the chance to explore the galleries until 9.30pm. Tate Lates nights are curated by Tate Collective Producers, 15 to 25 year-olds who create events and workshops for young people.

27. Tate Modern

Fridays and Saturdays
Tate Modern exhibitions are open on Fridays and Saturdays until 10pm, and the Tate Modern Restaurant also stays open late for dinner. Enjoy exclusive DJ sets, talks, screenings and workshops with Uniqlo Tate Lates on the last Friday of every month (except December). 

28. Victoria and Albert Museum

Selected galleries at the V&A are open until 10pm every Friday. On the last Friday of the month (except May and December) there are themed Friday Late events. These V&A Lates feature arty activities, installations, food and drink.

29. Wellcome Collection

Marvel at the Wellcome Collection galleries, which are open until 9pm on Thursdays, with late opening hours in the cafe and bookshop too.

30. Whitechapel Gallery

On Thursdays, the Whitechapel Gallery is open until 9pm, while the Whitechapel Refectory closes its doors at 11pm.

First Thursdays

First Thursday of every month
On the first Thursday of every month, more than 150 museums and galleries in east London stay open until 9pm for late viewings and free events, sponsored by the Whitechapel Gallery and Time Out. Join a guided bus tour around some of the venues, hosted by leading curators, writers, academics and artists.

Find more cultural inspiration with current and upcoming art and exhibitions in London, including top museum exhibitions and the latest blockbuster art exhibitions. If you're looking for more things to do at night in London, tick off these 101 night-time activities or plan a cheap night out

Make sure to download the Visit London app for on-the-go tips, and check out our guide to events each weekend.